Education International
Education International

Swaziland: Union demands 1,200 dismissed teachers be reinstated

published 5 March 2012 updated 8 March 2012

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), an EI national affiliate, has condemned the authorities’ decision to make 1,200 primary teachers redundant due to the financial crisis hitting this Kingdom.

This decision is in total contradiction with the national educational policy followed previously. Last year, Swaziland employed 3,000 teachers on one-year renewable contracts, with the promise of permanent jobs.

Appalling situation

“We met with the Government and informed it about the appalling situation,” said Muzi Mahlanga, SNAT General Secretary.

“SNAT urged the Government to reinstate all teachers to their jobs. Should authorities not meet this demand, we will call for a mass action, with schools closing or having reduced activities.”

Call for financial investment

EI Africa Chief Regional Coordinator Assibi Napoe said: “EI will never watch education being sacrificed on the altar of the crisis. We wish to reaffirm that education is the answer to the current economic and financial crisis. We therefore call on the Swazi authorities not to go back on their promises, reinstate teachers, and give them proper training. Considerable financial investment should be made in quality public education, to get well-educated citizens able to make a valuable contribution to their society.”

SNAT has been at the forefront of protests against King Mswati III, Sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch. The latter leads a jet-set lifestyle, while seven in ten of his subjects live in total poverty, and earn less than US$2 per day.

The Swazi Government has also not fulfilled its promises to pay for children getting free primary education, or to support AIDS orphans going to school.